Friday, 13 April 2018

Castleton Councillor Collects Stipend Top-up

Council Leader says he has 'confidence' in Aasim Rashid

CASTLETON Councillor, Aasim Rashid, found himself under attack in the Rochdale Council Chamber on Wednesday night from the Lib-Dem leader, Andy Kelly, for snatching the stipend top-up he and others in the Labour and Tory parties voted through for themselves in December 2016.

At that time the Manchester Evening News headlined a report on this decision:  'Councillors booed as they vote to accept a 34% pay rise'.

Some councillors who voted for the pay hike said at the time that they wouldn't take the money.  One such was Castleton Councillor Aasim Rashid.  Yet, on the 19th, March 2018, the Rochdale Online Blog revealed:  'Labour councillor Aasim Rashid, from Castleton, who promised, “I’m not taking even a single penny increase in my allowance”, took the increase.'.

That's why at tonight's full Council meeting a flustered Labour leader, councillor Allen Brett had to declare: 'Councillor Rashid has my total confidence, he has my backing'

Councillor Brett also said 'Councillor Rashid didn't know that he had taken the extra allowance.'

Coumcillor Rashid wasn't in the Council Chamber last Wednesday to hear this spat, so he couldn't defend himself.  Perhaps he, like many other labour councillors tonight were out on the stomp to save their own seats at the coming local elections on the 3rd, May.*

But did Councillor Rashid really overlook his extra stipend as Councillor Brett suggests?  After all innumeracy isn't something he declares in his election literature.  Quite the contrary in his declaration he boasts:  'As a business owner I am familiar with finance and hence I have also served you on the Council by being responsible for council finances during what has been an exceptionally difficult time...'

So clearly Councillor Rashid, an economics graduate, has a better basic background in accountancy than most of us, and one would have thought that with his solid familiarity with finance that he would easily be able to get his head round a simple bank balance showing that his councillor's allowances had soared by some 30% or so.

When this week I asked him to explain why he took the money, Councillor Rashid fail to respond.

Councillor Kelly said that he well remembered a local Labour MP, who had had habit of claiming too much in his expenses claims.   Perhaps it is just a necessary family trait in the Rochdale Labour Party, because black sheep like Labour Councillor Chris Furlong, who tonight attended his last Council meeting found himself deselected by the party for failing to support the super stipend boost in 2016.

* About 30 Labour councillors failed to attend last Wednesday's full Council meeting.

1 comment:

Carl Faulkner said...

I wonder if he would have noticed the mistake if they had deducted 34% instead of adding it?

Has he now stopped claiming it and will he pay it back?

Will he not be claiming it for the next 4 years (if elected)?